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  1. #1
    Mild-Mannered Reporter
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    Default CBR: Permanent Damage - Oct 29, 2008

    Pricing comics out of the market, counterclaims on the most significant 20 comics in American comics history, the last hurrah of the election season, and lots of short notes in Steven Grant\'s PERMANENT DAMAGE.


    Full article here.

  2. #2

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    Paper costs?

    In 1977 The Washington Post was 20c. is now 50c. That is an under-inflation rise and newspapers are having a very rough time of it...

  3. #3

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    Because newspapers are primarily made up of advertising, and it's the advertising which is expected to cover the printing costs, including paper (if they didn't, then the paper would lose money adding ads.) The cover price is hoped to cover circulation costs, and then only loosely. In comics, advertising is a secondary income source at most, with the page count rarely (although not never) varying based on the amount of advertising included. Very different model.
    Which is not to say that paper cost is the sole reason for the inflation rate of comics.

  4. #4
    Crusader of Justice dancj's Avatar
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    Yeah - I was fairly unconviced by the paper costs argument. Comics are made of paper, probably less than a quarter of the amount of paper that would be used in a magazine that's less than half the price.

  5. #5
    Junior Member Imaginos666's Avatar
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    I wouldn't be offended if comics went back to newsprint (though I seem to be in the minority in that regard.) I think trades give publishers the luxury of publishing a cheap monthly title that they can later "upgrade" into a trade format.

    The new Shazam kids comic is a great example of a well-drawn book presented on lower-grade paper ... at a significantly lower price. I currently subscribe to Tiny Titans because, after my subscription discount, it's something like $1.50. I'd pay more than that for a bottle of Pepsi at a gas station. (I'm also an unrepentant Titans junky.)

    Besides, if your story sucks, you can print the damn thing on gold-plated paper and it won't make any difference. The comics market became very superficial in the 1990s and restructured its entire publishing aesthetic to cater to speculators. Companies still craft their books for speculators, even though those "readers" have long since gone.

  6. #6

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    Seriously, Nat's right. There's no comparison between comics and newspapers because newspapers (and most magazines) make their money off advertising, and newspapers traditionally off classified advertising, which is really geared to rack up the bucks.

    Which is a huge reason so many newspapers are in trouble in America these days. Not because their circulations have precipitously dropped, though in many cases they have dropped, but because Craigslist is wiping out local classified advertising, which is decimating newspapers' bottom line.

    And the cost of low-end paper isn't (or, at least, wasn't last time I checked) significantly lower than the price of decent midrange paper, especially if you buy in bulk. That was a major factor in comics shifting to better quality paper in the first place. It wasn't to please the fans, though they figured that would be the result, it was because the price of low-end paper had risen high enough that it was close to equalized with better paper so the difference was negligible.

    - Grant

  7. #7
    More Donald than Charlie stealthwise's Avatar
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    Steven, ever given any thought into examining the models of business webcomics use, and how they manage to create revenue? Or is that more in line with what some of the columnists use? I find the whole process fascinating, in that there doesn't seem to be ANY specific business model or production formula among the various strips out there, and the majority of the ones that do seem to make money rely quite a bit on merchandizing more than anything.
    - Art is whatever makes you feel human.

    - "You are what you love, not what loves you." - Donald Kaufman

    - "Deserve's got nothing to do with it." - William Munny

    - "Acquiescence. It's not so hard, really. You. Just. Give. In." - Col. Ives

  8. #8
    Senior Member Buzz Dixon's Avatar
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    Aren't the only newspapers enjoying success right now the free weekly ad supported local tabloids?

  9. #9

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    "Cheaper" paper often has hidden costs as well. I've been publishing a number of my books on cheaper than standard paper, not just because of my cheapness, but because it's cool offwhite tone and extra thickness suits much of what I'm publishing. But the cost savings is not all that it seems -- as I said, it's thicker. It's heavier. And those things add to shipping costs and to storage costs.

  10. #10
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    Winky is a terrible nickname. Men shouldn't use derogatory nicknames for women. It's ok for women to call her Caribou Barbie, but not men.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis View Post
    Winky is a terrible nickname. Men shouldn't use derogatory nicknames for women. It's ok for women to call her Caribou Barbie, but not men.
    Sexist!
    one of the highest principles of America is that we're a nation of people from different backgrounds living in equal dignity and mutual loyalty - Eboo Patel.

  12. #12
    Animation & Illustration
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    Yeah, isn't this supposed to be a level playing field? I thought Winky was halfway clever, and a suitable response to her using her sex during the debate (if any male candidate was to wink like that, people would've been all over it).
    "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside a dog, it's too dark to read"- Groucho Marx

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  13. #13

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    Winky wasn't a comment on her using sex in the debate, but on her propensity for winking all the damn time. And not just a quick little wink like some cute inside joke but those big histrionic posed wink, where you cock your head around and squeeze your eye tight shut and drop your jaw on that side way open to make sure everyone knows you're winking. Jeez, I hate it when anybody does that, it's so freaking geegaw.

    When she stops doing that really forced winking, I'll stop calling her Winky.

    - Grant

  14. #14
    Heretic bartl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NatGertler View Post
    Because newspapers are primarily made up of advertising, and it's the advertising which is expected to cover the printing costs, including paper (if they didn't, then the paper would lose money adding ads.) The cover price is hoped to cover circulation costs, and then only loosely. In comics, advertising is a secondary income source at most, with the page count rarely (although not never) varying based on the amount of advertising included. Very different model.
    When I was attempting to get the job of PR guy for DC comics, one of my recommendations was to divide the comics into 4-5 groups based on common readership, have each group have its own set of ads, and charge accordingly. Comics were just starting their downward spiral of death at the time, so the idea got VERY short shrift.
    Bart Lidofsky

  15. #15
    Heretic bartl's Avatar
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    As Grant probably knows better than any of us, every time comics have gone up in price, there has been a directly connected drop in sales.

    As for comics doing well in the Depression, there is an important factor which I must assume that Grant thought was so obvious that he didn't bother to say it (it is certainly obvious in hindsight). One of the major reasons why comics did well in the Depression was because they were so cheap. You got a 64 page pamphlet, with complete stories generally 8, sometimes 12 pages, for ten cents. Which means that you got 6-8 stories per issue, as well. Now, ten cents bought quite a bit more than it does now, but today, you get a 32 page pamphlet that often doesn't even have a single complete story for whatever comics are going for these days. And, while you had radio in the 30's, not everybody had one. These days, those homes that don't have television are doing so as a matter of choice, not necessity. The Internet is all over the place, too. For the price of less than a dozen comic books, you can buy a DVD player, and rent DVD's for a buck a day, or get them for free from the library. So not only have comics outstripped inflation in terms of pages, they have WAY outstripped inflation when you count bang for the buck, while there are plenty of far less expensive alternatives.

    Frankly, the reason I stopped buying comics was pretty much that. I took a look at how much I was spending on them, taking a look at what I was getting out of them, and saying, "Why the hell am I doing this?" And, in a bad economy, expect a lot more people to say the same thing, and come up with the same answer.
    Bart Lidofsky

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